The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery last year prompted a shift in opinions about institutional racism, relationships among people, police and governments, and reckoning with past and present. In this edition of Dialogue, we’re asking what has changed in Knoxville, and what more needs to be done in the near future. Host Brandon Hollingsworth is joined by three guests working to put ideas into action:
Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin is a lecturer in the University of Tennessee’s sociology department. Her focus of study is race, place and Black communities – particularly those of Appalachia. She co-hosts the podcast Black in Appalachia, and is the founder of The Bottom, a space that will serve multiple purposes for creators and the community.
Tanika Harper is a co-founder of The Women, a group dedicated to helping find money for Black-owned businesses for expansion or Black entrepreneurs seeking to start their own businesses. She is also the founder and CEO of the Shora Foundation, a program that provides a safe place for young people in underserved areas.
Dr. Charles F. Lomax Jr. heads up the Department of Community Empowerment for the City of Knoxville. In that role, he helps oversee the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment, the Police Advisory and Review Committee, the Title VI/Diversity and Inclusion Office, and the Empower Knox Initiative. Additionally, his department works with community organizations to see how the city can participate in or aid racial equity efforts.